6/1/16

What is The Reason of Increasing Weight

What is The Reason of Increasing Weight

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.

It travels with various other diseases, which combined kill millions of people per year.

These diseases include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, dementia and various others.

Obesity and Willpower

In the discussions about weight gain and obesity, many people seem to think that it is purely a function of willpower.

In my opinion, that idea is ridiculous.

I do agree that whether we gain weight (or not) is a result of behavior, in this case eating behavior. If we eat more than we burn, we gain weight. If we eat less and exercise, then we lose.

However… human behavior is complex. It is driven by various biological factors like genetics, hormones and neural circuits. Eating behavior, just like sexual behavior and sleeping behavior, is driven by biological processes.

Saying that behavior is simply a function of willpower (“The strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans”) is way too simplistic.

It doesn’t take into account all the other factors that ultimately determine what we do and when we do it. Most people’s willpower crumbles under the force of other signals, both internal and external.

Here are 10 factors that I believe are leading causes of weight gain, obesity and metabolic disease, that really have nothing to do with willpower.


1. Genetics

Obesity has a strong genetic component. Offsprings of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than offsprings of lean parents.

This is not to say that obesity is completely predetermined because our genes aren’t as set in stone as you may think… the signals we send our genes can have a major effect on which genes are expressed and which are not.

Non-industrialized societies rapidly become obese when they start eating a typical Western diet. Their genes didn’t change, the environment and the signals they sent to their genes changed.

It does seem clear that there are genetic components that do affect our susceptibility to gain weight. Studies on identical twins demonstrate this very well (1).


2. Engineered “Hyperpalatable” Junk Foods

Today, foods are often little more than refined ingredients mixed in with a bunch of chemicals.

These products are engineered to be cheap, last long on the shelf and taste so incredibly good that we just can’t get enough.

By making foods “hyperpalatable,” the food manufacturers ensure that we eat a lot and decide to buy and eat them again and again.

Most processed foods today don’t resemble food at all. These are highly engineered products, with massive budgets spent on making the foods taste so good that we become “hooked.”





3. Food Addiction

These highly engineered junk foods cause powerful stimulation of the reward centers in our brains (2, 3).

You know what else does that? Drugs of abuse like alcohol, cocaine, nicotine and cannabis.

The fact is that junk foods can cause full-blown addiction in susceptible individuals. People lose control over their eating behavior, in the same way as alcoholics lose control over their drinking behavior.

Addiction is a complex issue with a biological basis that can be very difficult to overcome. When you become addicted to something, you lose your freedom of choice and the biochemistry in your brain starts calling the shots for you.

4. Aggressive Marketing (Especially Towards Children)

The junk food companies are very aggressive marketers.

Their tactics can get unethical at times and they constantly market very unhealthy products as if they are health foods.

The food companies make misleading claims and they spend massive amounts of money sponsoring scientists and major health organizations to influence their research and guidelines.

In my opinion, the junk food companies are even worse than the tobacco companies ever were, because they target their marketing specifically towards children.

Children are becoming obese, diabetic and addicted to junk foods way before they’re old enough to make conscious decisions about these things.



5. Insulin

Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage, among other things.

One of the functions of insulin is to tell fat cells to store fat and to hold on to the fat that they already carry.

The Western diet causes insulin resistance in many individuals (4). This elevates insulin levels all over the body, making energy selectively get stored in the fat cells instead of being available for use.

The best way to lower insulin is to cut back on carbohydrates, which usually leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and effortless weight loss. No calorie counting or portion control required (5, 6).

6. Certain Medications

There are many pharmaceutical drugs that can cause weight gain as a side effect.

Examples include diabetes medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc.

These drugs don’t cause a “willpower deficiency” – they alter the function of the body and brain, making it selectively store fat instead of burning it.

7. Leptin

Another hormone that is crucial in obesity is Leptin.

This hormone is produced by the fat cells and is supposed to send signals to the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that controls food intake) that we’re full and need to stop eating.

Obese people have lots of fat and lots of leptin. The problem is that the leptin isn’t working as it should, because for some reason the brain becomes resistant to it (7).

This is called leptin resistance and is believed to be a leading factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.

8. Food Availability

One factor that has dramatically influenced the collective waistline of the world is a massive increase in food availability.

Food (especially junk food) is everywhere now. Even gas stations sell food and merchants stack tempting products like candy bars in areas that maximize the chances of impulse purchases.

Another problem related to availability is that junk food is often cheaper than real food, especially in America.

Some people, especially in poorer neighborhoods, don’t even have the option of purchasing real foods. The convenience stores in these areas only sell sodas, candy and processed, packaged junk foods.

How can it be a matter of choice of you literally don’t have a choice?

9. Sugar




In my opinion, sugar is the single worst part of the modern diet.

The reason is that when consumed in excess, sugar changes the hormones and biochemistry of the body, contributing to weight gain.

Added sugar is half glucose, half fructose. We get glucose from all sorts of foods, including starches, but we get the majority of our fructose from added sugars.

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